Golf professional Ben Mutz pioneered his signature method of golf instruction in 1987 and continues to shower pupils with nuggets of knowledge honed from years of teaching the game. The incisive ace has penned multiple instructional tomes, including one titled The Five Objectives of a Successful Golf Swing. Ben tailors the curriculum to the golfletic needs of his charges, from smoothing out putting strokes to teaching newcomers the relative advantages that distinguish a 9 iron from a car antenna. Lessons are typically held one-on-one or in small groups to ensure individualized attention.
In the Old World, castles were places to live, govern, and seek shelter. Today, there are still places designed to keep the outside world at bay, but rather than standing as bastions of military defense, they serve as oases of relaxation, fitness, and fun. Riviera Country Club and Sports Center is one such getaway. There, members can explore a vast campus of athletic and recreation amenities including indoor and outdoor pools, a full gym, and a spa. Though the club’s organizers leave plenty of time for individuals to play in each space, they also host organized events, including regular group fitness classes such as boot camp, kickboxing, and Latin dance. They maintain a vast array of sports courts, as well, allowing members to feed their competitive sides in basketball, tennis, and racquetball arenas. As adults young and old sweat during their chosen forms of play, staffers help tykes explore their creativity in a play space known as the Sandbox, which combines education, arts and crafts, and computers to produce a secret army of glitter robots.
Comprised of two championship-length 18-hole courses and a 9-hole executive layout, Silver Lake Country Club unfurls across rolling terrain dotted with ponds and streams. The longest of the three courses, the North Course offers relatively open fairways for those who prefer to belt the ball with their driver or tow a small aircraft behind their golf cart. At the South Course, water hazards loom on 12 holes, including the treacherous par-3 ninth hole, where tee shots must travel 236 yards and clear a pond in order to reach the green in one.
The Rolling Hills Course presents seven par-3s and two par-4s in a 1,587-yard layout that incorporates a stream that intervenes through most of the course. Before taking on the golf course of their choice, golfers can warm up swings and teach breathing exercises to nervous irons at the driving range, which offers both natural-grass and turf hitting stalls and a short-game practice area.
A stable of 14 golf simulators lines the walls of Indoor Golf Links of America’s sleek facility, enveloping an open space that feels more like a lively sports bar than a posh country club. Each simulator occupies its own private stall with an adjacent sitting area and a table, where duffers can tend to succulent burgers, piping-hot pizzas, and drinks from the full-service bar a safe distance from whizzing golf balls and 6-irons that have a reputation for covertly unscrewing saltshakers. The simulators’ immense screens whisk duffers to digital reconstructions of legendary courses, allowing them to brave the coastal crags of Pebble Beach or the charging koala bears of Royal Melbourne Golf Club. Golfers struggling with their pendulous form can improve wrist movements at the foosball table, pinpoint precision during a round of shuffleboard, or live vicariously through the professional athletes broadcast on one of the studio’s 16 big-screen TVs.
Dedicated to creating a unique experience, Space Golf illuminates its indoor lunar landscape with 18 challenging putt-putt holes alive with neon day-glo paint under showers of black light. Throughout the course, golfers nudge their iridescent balls past a synthesized landscape of posed alien life forms, flying saucers, and real aliens trying to blend in. Adding to the scenery are life-size character replicas from beloved sci-fi films such as E.T. and Star Wars beside neon yellow bricks that pave the 18-hole way for explorers. Along with mini golf, Space Golf?s Alien Arcade grants players a chance to hone their hand-eye coordination to win tickets for use at the prize stand, and chefs in the Sci Fi Caf? whip up pizzas, hot dogs, and hand-dipped ice-cream cones.